Jane de Chantal: Never Revisit Past Sins
Our fears about past confessions are the pure temptation of the devil.
In this letter, Jane de Chantal1 encourages a fellow sister in her religious order to bear patiently with temptation. What I find especially helpful is her insistence to never revisit past sins after confessing them. Once we share them, let them go. Our job is to learn how to trust the infinite mercy of God.
Sister Francoise Gaspards de la Grave,
Do you know that these fears and self-torturings about your past confessions are pure temptations of the devil?
Make a firm stand and take no heed of them, dear daughter, for the devil is only trying in his malice to deceive you.
Bear with his attacks and the suffering that comes of them gently and humbly, submitting to the good pleasure of God, who permits them to test your fidelity and confidence.
Pay no regard to anything the tempter suggests. Never let your mind argue about it; but suffer it without yielding consent. Throw yourself upon the mercy of the divine Mercy. Leave to it the care of your salvation and of everything regarding you.
Tell God that you have entire trust in His goodness, and although it may seem to you that you have not any, never cease to assure Him that you have, and always will have with the assistance of His grace.
This I command you to do.
And bear patiently the burden without desiring to be delivered from it; for that would be a brave sort of virtue which never wished to be attacked, and a grand fidelity that which would surrender at the first approach of the enemy!
Remain firm without wishing ever to confess past sins a second time, or ever swerving from your duty of patience and confidence in God: and you will see how God draws His glory and your good out of this temptation, for which may He in His infinite goodness be blessed.2
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Jane Frances de Chantal was a French Roman Catholic saint of the 16th century. She was born in Dijon, France, in 1572 to a wealthy family and was married to a nobleman. After her husband's death, she devoted her life to service in the Church, founding the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary in 1610. A tireless advocate for the poor and the sick, Jane de Chantal was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1767 and is now known as the patron saint of mothers, widows, and those in difficult situations. Her spirit of kindness and service continues to inspire others to this day.
Frances de Chantal, St. Jane. Selected Letters of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Ebook ed. R. & T. WASHBOURNE, LTD. , 1918. The Project Gutenberg, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/50592/50592-h/50592-h.htm, Accessed 30, January, 2023.